Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23: Picture of Me, Ted Kooser, "Abandoned Farmhouse"

I often wonder what people will think of me when I'm gone.  I wonder what readers think when they stumble across a stray blog post I've written.  What kind of picture of me do they assemble in their minds.

What I hope they see is a man who loves his wife and children.  A hard-working husband and father.  A person of faith.  Someone who can laugh at himself.  Good poet and writer, hopefully.  Generous.  Compassionate.  Friendly.  And hung like a horse.

That's Saint Marty.

Abandoned Farmhouse

by:  Ted Kooser

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm—a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

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